When people find out I’m a writer, the response is always, “Oh, I’ve written some too!” You can see a spark in their eyes and they stand a little taller on the importance of this announcement. When I ask what they’ve written, the fire in their eyes dims and their shoulders slump at their next confession, “Well, um, you know…” they hem and haw. The next words out of their mouths is a defense any state attorney in a high profile trial would be proud of. They don’t have enough time, they are stuck on the dialogue, or they don’t know how to end it. They have so many ideas, but don’t know what to do with it. Ah the tragedy!
I just bob my head, doing my best “smile and wave” routine of social convention, not wanting to break their hearts or burst their bubbles. Sometimes I’ll give a pointer or idea or two if they ask. Writing anything takes discipline and the ability to “let things go.” Some of these people can’t get through their treasured prose because they continually hack away at it with edits instead of finishing it. That’s why November’s NaNoWriMo is such a boon to the writing industry and folks who can’t overcome the obstacles of their own construction. You get thirty days to complete your manuscript of at least 50,000 words, and you are in competition with the rest of the world to do so. If you want to write something, you have to make time for it. I know people who work full time jobs and have busy home lives, who still manage to carve time out of their day to write. Even if it’s just an hour, find you’re sweet spot of motivation and go! Once you’ve pounded out that story, let it rest. Then you can go back and hack away at edits, but let others read it as well. Many people get caught up in the despair of their perfectionism and destroy good writing because they don’t have the confidence to believe in their work and send their little book baby out into this world.
So, what’s the lesson for today? If you can find the discipline to finish that manuscript and learn to let go in the end, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Then, you can call yourself a “writer.”